I was a big fan of Satellite TV going back to grad school. Back then, you could get a decent channel package for around $30/month, easily beating the price of cable. Even factoring in buying the Dish and Receiver, the savings at the time paid for themselves in under two years (at least in Blacksburg in the late 90s). I even used to brag how we didn’t lose signal during the last hurricane to rumble through Northern Virginia.
But over the last year, I became greatly disatisfied with Dish Network, my former provider. Although we had the high-def package, the DVR they wanted to rent me would cost an additional 15-20 a month, iirc, which was more than the montly price of a TiVo. The high-def channels were great for ESPN2 MLS telecasts, but we didn’t watch a whole lot if high def channel. Finally, to get Fox Soccer Channel, which invariably has a handful of away DC United games each season, I had to subscribe to the most expensive channel bundle.
Early this spring, Verizon came through our neighborhood and hooked us all up to their Fiber optic Internet service. I already had Verizon DSL (part of that cable company phobia that drove me to Dish Network in the first place), and when I noticed that FSC was on the basic programming tier for Fios TV.
The more I mulled it over, the more sense it made. I haven’t gotten a first full months bill, but while I don’t expect our monthly savings to be huge, maybe on the order of $20-30/month, we’re getting better services than before. We have faster Internet, cheaper TV, and since FiosTV supports CableCARDS, I finagled an upgrade to a TivoHD box. The improvement in picture quality alone over Dish + Tivo, which underwent a painful Digital-Analog-Digital converstion, is worth the pain of switching alone.
The only downside manifested itself last week, when the Actiontec router Verizon supplies started having DNS issues. Rebooting the router “solved” them, which is annoying since I’ll have to remember to reboot it every few weeks.
If Dish Network and DirectTV have to merge to compete, so be it. There are more options today than a decade ago, and that’s not counting Netflix or watching TV Shows on the Internet.
Just as the 505-day XM Sirius antitrust saga comes to a bittersweet end, reports have resurfaced that a new satellite merger may be in the works. Dish Network is floating the idea of merging with competitor DirecTV. Dish Network and DirecTV, the two largest satellite television providers in the U.S.
P.S. First person to post about how their life is super-great without TV gets a unicorn.